Season-long slump continues for SWIC women’s basketball team

In the midst of its longest losing streak in nearly two decades, the Southwestern Illinois College 2015-16 women’s basketball season has gone from bad to worse.

Veteran Blue Storm coach Mike Juenger announced this week that sophomore Brittney Zipfel and freshman and leading scorer Aubreeney Brady have been ruled academically ineligible for the second semester that begins next week.

Zipfel, a sharpshooting guard from Mascoutah was averaging just under six points per game in a reserve role for SWIC, which entered Wednesday’s Great Rivers Athletic Conference game on Wednesday at Vincennes (Ind.) University on an eight-game losing streak and is 3-9 for the season. SWIC is 0-8 in GRAC play.

Brady, who was averaging 23 points a game and was well on her way towards earning all-GRAC recognition and possibly all-American honors, is a Collinsville High School graduate.

“Losing two players who score nearly 30 points a game is a huge blow to this basketball team. Especially a team that has trouble scoring at times, anyway,” Juenger said. “We’ll just have to have some other girls step up for us and we’re going to keep moving forward. We’ve got some very talented, but young basketball players on this team and we’re going to keep working hard and hopefully start to turn things around and win some basketball games.”

SWIC’s latest meltdown came on Saturday during a 62-43 loss at Southeastern Illinois College. Three nights after a 74-32 drubbing at Rend Lake College, the Blue Storm trailed only by two points late in the first half. But a missed scoring opportunity led to a basket by Southeastern Illinois. The Falcons then dominated in the second half as SWIC saw its winless streak continue.

“We’ve had some chances and we’ve been in games. Against Southeastern we have a chance to tie the game right before the half and we turn the ball over and they get a basket. Instead of being tied or down two, we go into halftime down eight points,” Juenger said. “We were in the game against Lincoln Trail, we were in the game against Olney Central and lost in overtime and were in the game against Southeastern. But when you have trouble scoring and you are turning the ball over 32 and 37 times like we have, you are going to have trouble winning.

“We’re young and so when we fall behind, our girls try and do too much. It’s just been a really tough stretch.”

Following its game on Wednesday, SWIC is back in action on Friday when it travels to take on the Greenville College junior varsity team at 5 p.m.

SWIC men

While the SWIC women continue to struggle, the Blue Storm men’s team was looking to extend its winning streak to seven games on Wednesday at perennial national title contender Vincennes University.

Currently 12-4, SWIC returns home on Saturday to take on Lewis and Clark Community College beginning at 3 p.m.

The Blue Storm men and women’s team will be in action together on Jan. 20 when it hosts Lake Land College. The women’s game begins at 5:30 p.m. with the men’s game to follow at 7:30 p.m.

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean